SAN FRANCISCO-Three credit unions in this city and another on the East Coast have partnered in a program to make loans for taxi medallions.

After more than 30 years of debating reform of taxi medallions in San Francisco, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency voted Aug. 3 to approve the launch of a short-term pilot program for the buying and selling of San Francisco taxi medallions that allows those medallion holders who are more than 70 years old or disabled to sell their medallion to a new, qualified driver. It is being projected that approximately 200 medallions will be sold under this program.

San Francisco FCU and Montauk CU in New York are accepting loan applications, while SF Fire Credit Union and SF Police Credit Union are purchasing loan participations. Montauk

Credit Union in New York has extensive experience in making loans as part of New York City's medallion program.

San Francisco has a unique taxi market in that each medallion holder must be a full-time driver and Is responsible for all aspects of operating a taxi, hence a true small business owner. Medallion holders then affiliate with a qualified taxi company under the pilot program that provides services, such as fuel, radios, dispatch, insurance, etc.

San Francisco FCU underwrote the first loan in the new program for Ahmad Sidaoui, who had been on the waiting list for more than 14 years and who paid $250,000 for his medallion.

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